Local group visits Utah to bring films into Maryland

On the Town

January 28, 1996|By SYLVIA BADGER

THE SUNDANCE FILM Festival, started by Robert Redford to tout exciting, low-budget films that may have gotten short shrift from Hollywood's high-powered distributors, has become a "must attend" event for movers and shakers in the world of film.

The 10-day festival, which ends today, has for years lured members of the Maryland Film Commission and the Maryland Producers Club to Park City, Utah, to hobnob with filmmakers and tout Maryland as a great place to make films.

This year was no exception for Producers Club members Blair Barton, owner of the Maryland/DC Production Guide, and David Cordish, whose Cordish Co. has been selected to undertake the redevelopment of the ailing Power Plant at the Inner Harbor.

The twosome, who have attended about 10 Sundance festivals, have had a busy trip networking at screenings, parties and on the ski slopes.

And I thank Blair for taking the time to call me with the following tidbits. She had help from David's son, Jon Cordish, owner of a distribution company, Seventh Art Releasing, with his partner Udy Etstein, who were there film shopping.

The two are scheduled to release a new film, "Man of the Year" in New York March 1, which will be followed by a nationwide release, and most likely will run locally at Sony Theatres. Another one of their releases, "Sister, My Sister," is now on video.

According to Jon, the hot movies at this year's festival are "Big Night," "Walking and Talking," "Shine" and two documentaries, "Celluloid Closet" and "Paradise Lost."

Another much talked-about film stars Baltimorean Josh Charles (who was at the festival) in "Pie in the Sky." (He's the son of Alan Charles, of Trahan Burden & Charles, and Laura Peyton.

Others making the rounds at the festival were Minnesota filmmaker Mark Pellington, who made a touching documentary about his father, former Baltimore Colts linebacker Bill Pellington, and his death from Alzheimer's; Baltimore native Tom Rothman, president of production for 20th Century Fox and festival co-chair with Robert Redford (Tom's the son of Baltimore attorney Donald Rothman); Catherine Councill, Maryland Film Commission; and Jed Dietz, president of the Producer's Club.

Stargazers were thrilled to see Brad Pitt, John Travolta, Ellen Burstyn, Brooke Shields, Faye Dunaway, Tim Robbins, Elle MacPherson, Laura Dern and Swoosie Kurtz.

Band on board

Good news for Ken Jackson, host of a big-band show on Legends Radio Network station WLG, 1360-AM. Cunard Lines invited him and his wife, Anne, to be hosts of a big-band cruise on the QEII, leaving New York July 22 for Southampton, England.

Cunard's also invited the Zim Zemarel Orchestra to perform for the crossing, which, according to Jackson, is the first time the cruise line has selected a local or regional band for one of its big-band crossings. They normally use groups like Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey or Ray Anthony.

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